Fences Fences Everywhere a Fence

Fences, fences, everywhere a fence ! IF it’s not a song yet, it should be ! But I’m not sitting on one, there is no doubt in my mind that these fences are trouble.

It is truly amazing the City (or is it RTG) spending so heavily on fences along Albert and Scott. These ones, along Scott, are wooden …IMG_7186

… to keep the salt and slush from splashing on the houses when the 2500 buses a day go crusin’ by. They will also block some of the residential views of the bus lanes, albeit at the price of a foreshortened view plane from the living room window. Maybe they will be able to peer over that fire hydrant? The fences will also protect errant  children and puppy dogs in back yards, but not if they are on the sidewalk.

This fence looks pretty solid, it is nice enough to be permanent, although the resident “lost” use of the first five or six feet behind the sidewalk. Mind the space can still be used by the city for snow dumping.


Other fences are alternating boards, which is not as effective at sound reduction…



Maybe this is all in aid of blocking the Mayor’s view of those ugly signs on the residents’ fences, as this fence is city controlled and signage can be policed much more conveniently.


Over on the Albert Street side of the project (another ward, another strategy) the fences are chain link. Supposedly to alleve bus operator fears of people stepping unexpectedly onto the road surface. Notice the generous 2′ buffer along the curb.

Residents asked for jersey barriers, those portable concrete walls used for traffic lanes and construction zones, as they would help protect the ped and homeowner from salt spray, the wall of water dragged behind a bus, and to help augment subjective safety. Nix, replied the city, the jersey barriers are wider than chain link, and if there was a bus emergency the pax couldn’t get over them to escape the vehicle. Or the bus doors could be jammed shut against the concrete wall.  Chain link is better, obviously.


Look again at the first panel of fencing. Diagonal steel tube bracing. While buses are driven by professionals, should one slip or slide in winter, or water plane, or make a sudden manoeuvre due to poorly operated private vehicles at the intersection, where will that diagonal post go? OC Skewerpo here we come !

And it is a much-repeated feature of the fence design. How different from the care taken where crash barriers are buried into the ground or buffered to prevent impaling cars, these fences seem en garde, ready to joust.


The fences are impenetrable at unmarked-but-still-legally-there pedestrian intersections, such as Walnut/Albert, or Rochester/Albert …


But have ped-sized-gaps at other places …


The fences make for some pretty uninviting sidewalks. To walk here is to feel trapped. The occasional cyclist on the sidewalk completes the discomfort, but have pity for the poor person on the cycle who feels intimidated off the road or cannot get onto it due to said fences …


It is inevitable that in their 3 year lifespan one or more bits of fence will be hit by a road or service vehicle. I wonder how quickly it will be repaired if pushed in onto the sidewalk side, as it is too narrow for vehicles to access the site.

Snowplowette ballet on the sidewalk may also turn out to be amusing.

On Bayview Station hill there are now two temporary bus station platforms where the passenger drop off zones used to be. A Thin Median has been installed, for the purpose of holding a fence to prevent people from crossing the street (like at other real transitway bus stations, except there there is was much more room).


(above:)  Those diagonal skewer poles again ! This time on the amateur driver lane, where cars and trucks will be squeezed between a wall of stopped buses (when one stops, they all have to) and a fence, on a Very Narrow Lane to boot.

Ah, the joy of chain link, lightly screwed into the curb! (Now we know why they replaced the for-thirty-years-dilapidated-curb with a brand new one, for just a temporary 3 year installation ).


Still, this parcel of land behind residences cannot be levelled, seeded, or landscaped in any way because it will be disturbed again in fall of 2018 for additional curb and sidewalk work. Albert is, of course, a gateway street to the downtown ses … sexy … sesquicentennial celebrations in 2017.


We’ll finish this de-tour with a few more fence sitting shots, like this fencus interruptus where the non-fence areas are bus platforms:


There is no place to push the snow off the bus waiting platforms, except to pull it onto the street. Will that happen, or will it get packed into impenetrable mini mount everests onto the adjacent canyony sidewalks ? Those sidewalks aren’t just for local yokels, either. They are required for the lengthy hikes the planners put in between mid-block bus transfer points. The bus platform shown above is, after all, about to be the new temporary Pimisi Station.

Here’s pretty much the only spot where snow can be pushed back off the sidewalk during the winter. Most other spots are narrow walled canyons. I hope those tractors are able to push a lot of snow for at least a block !


I’ve set out my hip waders and spikes and an extra toque for the first major snowfall ! After all, last year’s was so much fun !

For a refesher on what happened last winter, read this story, part 2 of a two-parter on the temporary lebreton station:

Rare unplanned-for-event at the transit station …

5 thoughts on “Fences Fences Everywhere a Fence

    1. There are a bizillions signs, most of them next to useless. Even now, people driving in the car lane aren’t going to notice a lot of the signs two lanes over (ie, beyond the bus lane, beyond the buffer strip, beyond the bike lane, beyond the sidewalk …) and will be even less visible when there are walls of buses there.

      In addition, the turn lane signs (black background, arrow on them) are potentially usable if you are in the curb lane, but if you are several lanes out, by time one seems them and assesses if the way is clear (no buses?) (no bikes?) (no pedestrians?) the opportunity to access the lane is past.

      peds and cyclists will not notice the signs much either, because they are mounted waaaaay to high, above eye level, and people are looking ahead and on the walking or cycling surface, or wary of cars, and not looking upwards to see if any signage applies to them. It seems most signs are put up at motorist-eyeview locations, designed to be seen at 40 or 50kmh.

      Even now, with no snow, lots of motorists disregard the priority lane markings. With snow, it will be worse.

      I won’t be surprised to see overhead signs appear later on, when it is discovered no one is watching the regular signs mounted behind the sidewalks.

      thank you for reading

  1. Are residents getting any compensation for this or are they just supposed to to be grateful that slush won’t be splashed on their homes? I guess it falls into imminent domain but those fences are awfully close to the houses.

  2. I expect the fences are on the official lot lines. Residents apparently asked for safety barriers.

    during the Scott CDP study, the city and consultants make a big deal of saying they would increase the space between the sidewalk and the traffic lane, so that walkers would feel more secure and the space made attractive. The audience responded very positively.

    Then a skunk at the garden party pointed out that according to the drawings on the wall, all that separation was going to be gained by moving the sidewalks closer to the houses, chewing up most of their front gardens, and the road wasn’t moving away from the houses or sidewalks.

    so maybe the fence is a good thing for getting people used to where, in the long term, the new sidewalks might go.

    while any change is dramatic and shocking at first, there are lots of places with front porches close to sidewalks. See for example, those houses on Albert between Lorne and Empress (the good companions) for a preview of Scott. Not that I am suggesting either location is an ideal layout.

  3. Only half-listening to CBC Ottawa Morning, but I think I heard a city councilor state he is worried about the snow removal this winter. Ha, that means shittier side-walk plowing. I can’t wait to see the mess the south side of Albert Street from Preston to the Senior’s Centre!

    ~Michelle, local car-free resident

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